QUARTERLY REPORT

Tribune 3Q TV-Entertainment Rev Up 11%

The jump to $494.6 million was driven by a $37.3 million increase in political ad revenue, a $12 million increase in retransmission revenues and a $9.1 million increase in carriage fee revenues, partially offset by a $5.3 million, or 2%, decrease in core ad revenues.

Tribune Media today reported third quarter earnings results that included Television and Entertainment Segment revenue of $494.6 million, up 11% from $447.3 in the same quarter a year ago.

The company said this was driven by a $37.3 million increase in political advertising revenue, a $12 million, or 12%, increase in retransmission revenues and a $9.1 million, or 30%, increase in carriage fee revenues, partially offset by a $5.3 million, or 2%, decrease in core advertising revenues.

Television and Entertainment operating profit was $67.3 million for the third quarter of 2018 compared to an operating loss of $1.4 million for the third quarter of 2017, an increase of $68.7 million. The increase was primarily due to a $47.3 million increase in revenues, as described above, and a $38.0 million decline in programming expense, primarily due to lower program impairment charges and the absence of barter expense due to the new revenue guidance adopted in 2018, partially offset by a $24 million increase in network affiliate fees mainly due to the renewal of network affiliation agreements in eight markets with Fox Broadcasting Company during the third quarter of 2018.

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Programming expense for the third quarter of 2018 included a $28 million program impairment charge for the syndicated program Elementary at WGN America, compared to an $80 million program impairment charge for the syndicated programs Elementary and Person of Interest at WGN America in the third quarter of 2017.

Television and Entertainment adjusted EBITDA was $153.0 million for the third quarter of 2018 compared to $135.1 million in the third quarter of 2017, an increase of $17.9 million, or 13%, primarily due to higher political advertising revenues, retransmission revenues and carriage fee revenues, partially offset by lower core advertising revenues and barter revenues, as described above, and higher programming expense, which excludes program impairment charges.

Television and Entertainment broadcast cash flow was $170.6 million for the third quarter of 2018 compared to $129.7 million in the third quarter of 2017, an increase of $40.9 million, or 32%. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2018, Television and Entertainment Broadcast Cash Flow was $447.2 million compared to $321.6 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, an increase of $125.6 million, or 39%.

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The company as a whole reported consolidated operating revenues of $498.0 million compared to $450.5 million in the third quarter of 2017, representing an increase of $47.5 million, or 11%. The increase was primarily driven by higher political advertising revenues, retransmission revenues and carriage fee revenues, partially offset by lower core advertising revenues and the absence of barter revenues, which are no longer recognized under the new revenue guidance adopted in the first quarter of 2018. Excluding third quarter 2017 barter revenues, consolidated operating revenues increased by 12%.

Consolidated operating profit was $37.1 million for the third quarter of 2018 compared to an operating loss of $29.5 million for the third quarter of 2017, representing an increase of $66.6 million.

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Peter Kern, Tribune Media’s CEO, said: “We are very pleased with our record third quarter revenue and Adjusted EBITDA which reflect the strong operational year we are having. We drove share gains in political and core advertising along with reaping the benefits of unprecedented political spending and stronger core advertising in our markets.

“Net of displacement, we estimate core advertising growth would have been in positive territory for the quarter, which is a significant improvement compared to the first half of the year. This robust advertising performance along with continued growth in retransmission and carriage fees and diligent focus on costs produced a terrific third quarter. We are proud of the work our teams have done during this time, and we look forward to a strong finish to the year.”

Read the company’s report here.


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